It’s finally here. The 2023 NFL Draft is just a day away The Detroit Lions will be on the clock before you know it. We’ve done all the mock drafts you can handle and we’ve gone through just about every theory out there as to what this team is going to do in this draft. What we have yet to do is simply break down the positions we believe the Lions need and why. Here’s us doing that now.
It seems like defensive lineman is high on everyone’s board when it comes to the Lions. While another guy or two on the end would be really fun, what the Lions really need in help on the interior of the line. While they like both Alim McNeill and Isaiah Buggs, general manager Brad Holmes specifically said that Buggs would be more effective with his playing time cut down.
Detroit could particularly use a guy who can help stop the run, so the Lions can avoid having games like they did against the Panthers. If that guy could also rush the passer, that would be all the more better.
Players to watch: Jalen Carter, Bryan Bresee, Siaki Ika, Calijah Kancey, Mazi Smith, Keeanu Benton and Gervon Dexter.
This is more about the future than it is today. The Lions loaded up at the position in free agency, but aside from Cameron Sutton, there are a lot of one-year deals in the room. If the Lions choose to draft a cornerback early, they could definitely see the field and have a chance to make an impact, but they probably won’t be as heavily relied upon as a rookie corner might have been over the last two seasons.
Detroit needs to grab their cornerback (or cornerbacks) of the future, and since cornerback may be the deepest position in draft, they’ll have plenty of opportunities. With that said, Detroit could be spending an early-round pick on this position.
Players to watch: Devon Witherspoon, Christian Gonzalez, Deonte Banks, Joey Porter Jr, Kelee Ringo, DJ Turner, Kyu Bu Kelly, Riley Moss, Emmanuel Forbes, and Cam Smith
The Lions’ best strength is their offensive line, but they have a spot that has a ton of questions surrounding it. That’s the right guard position. Who is starting there in 2023? Is it Graham Glasgow or Halapoulivaati Vaitai? Regardless of who it might be, none of those guys are likely long-term solutions. The draft is full of great guards who the Lions can pick up just about anywhere in the draft. The bulk of the talent should be available on Day 2, but a first-round pick isn’t out of the question here.
Players to watch: O’Cyrus Torrence, Steve Avilla, Darnell Wright, Andrew Vorhees, Chandler Zavala, Nick Broeker, and Antonia Mafi
The Lions reportedly attempted to sign former Raiders tight Foster Moreau in free agency. Because they failed to add anything to the position this offseason, it stands to reason they are still looking, and lucky for Detroit, this draft is full of talented tight ends. Much like cornerbacks, this position group is very deep. The Lions could score a quality tight end anywhere from Pick 18 on down.
Players to watch: Michael Mayer, Dalton Kincaid, Darnell Washington, Luke Musgrave, Tucker Kraft, Sam LaPorta, Zack Kuntz, Luke Schoonmaker and Cameron Latu
Much like the cornerback room, the Lions have a lot of short-term options at receiver. It felt like the Lions were going to select receiver at some point in this draft before the Jameson Williams suspension. Now it feels like they may look at the position as a much higher need than it was before. At this point, it wouldn't be a shock if Detroit targets a receiver in the first round. I know one writer who definitely wants the Lions to pick a receiver high. It’s me, hi, I’m the problem, it’s me.
I purposely buried this position down here. While some Lions fans are consistently raising concerns about Jared Goff, I don’t think the Lions share those same concerns. They have spoken multiple times about getting a backup quarterback, but have not completely sold out on where that guy is coming from. Will they draft a guy to be the future franchise quarterback, or will they grab a developmental guy in Day 2 or beyond? Maybe they’ll just sign Teddy Bridgewater and we’ll all forget this ever happened.
Players to watch: Anthony Richardson, Will Levis, Hendon Hooker and Dorian Thompson-Robinson
The Lions are pretty good at this position at the moment. After this season, who knows? It feels like a forgone conclusion the Lions are going to move on from D’Andre Swift after the 2023 season. Craig Reynolds is fine, but he’ll be 27 when the season starts, and he doesn’t seem like a 1B to David Montgomery’s 1A.
That’s why the Lions need to think about grabbing a running back in this draft. There are a lot of good and interesting options, very much including Texas running back Bijan Robinson, who is expected to go in the first round of the draft. Could the Lions be the next team to gamble on a first-round back?
Players to watch: Bijan Robinson, Jahmyr Gibbs, Zach Charbonnet, Kenny McIntosh, Tyjae Spears, Keaton Mitchell and DeWayne Mcbride.